Naveen Kumar was the star for Dabang Delhi K.C. as they beat Tamil Thalaivas 32-31 in a closely-fought Match 110 of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8 here on Saturday. The star raider scored 13 points for Delhi as they overcame a stiff challenge mounted by the Tamil team in the dying minutes. The win will help Delhi increase their chances of a Top-2 finish in the league stages.
Thalaivas miscalculated the last raid and didn’t attempt for a bonus which could have helped them clinch two points to level the match. The result means the team from Chennai are out of the current Top 6 and will need a flawless end to the season to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Delhi started the match on the front foot with Naveen Kumar looking ominous. He picked up easy points from the Tamil defence, while at the end, Manjeet did his best to keep Thalaivas within touching distance. The absence of Ajinkya Pawar hampered Thalaivas’ usual double-headed attack.
The pressure finally helped Dabang clinch an all-out in the 13th minute and open an eight-point lead. Despite the gap, Thalaivas were playing well, especially captain Surjeet Singh. Delhi’s Neeraj Narwal also contributed to the raids as the first half ended with scores 17-10.
Delhi controlled the match in the early minutes of the second half despite Thalaivas upping a gear. Manjeet kept prodding the Delhi defence while Sagar also started picking form in the right corner. The momentum shifted to Thalaivas’ side in the 10th minute when three Delhi defenders went out of bounds as Thalaivas raider Himanshu entered the lobby without a touch. Manjeet immediately added another point to make it a three-point game and just one Delhi player on the mat.
The Thalaivas finally got an all-out with eight minutes on the clock to level the scores at 23-23. Naveen Kumar clinched his Super 10 as he continued to get the better of the Tamil defence. Manjeet wasn’t in a mood to let Delhi run away with the lead though. He picked up a Super 10 as his touch point helped Thalaivas level the scores with just two minutes remaining.
But Manjeet Chhillar produced a clutch tackle in the final minute to send Tamil’s Manjeet to the dugout. Naveen then picked up a point to open a 2-point lead which the Thalaivas couldn’t reduce in their last raid.